With over 15,000 inland lakes – not to mention those two Great ones – and 84,000 miles of rivers, Wisconsin offers endless opportunities for boating fun. You don’t need experience, and you certainly don’t need to buy a boat, to take advantage of Wisconsin’s waterways. Across the state, you’ll find boating rentals, lessons, and guides to get you started.
For a leisurely boating experience, a pontoon is the way to go. Grab a cooler, snacks, and some friends, and you’re set for a day of fun on the water! Here are some rental options across the state:
- Lake Time Boats provides pontoons for Round Lake, the Chippewa Flowage, and other lakes in the Hayward area.
- Kick back on Lake Mendota or Lake Wisconsin with a pontoon from BoatHouse of Madison.
- Good Nuf Boat Rentals in Hazlehurst serves Northern Wisconsin’s Lakeland area.
- The Edelweiss in Milwaukee is famous for its public cruises, but also offers pontoon boat rentals to enjoy the Milwaukee River and the harbor of Lake Michigan.
Wisconsin is a top destination for world-class fishing. Charter a fishing boat with an experienced guide for the trip of a lifetime.
- Cap’n Jeff of Tite Line Fishing in Door County will guide you on a bass or walleye fishing adventure.
- Oshkosh-based Anglin’ Adventures Fishing Guide Service – offers half- and full-day trips on lakes all over Northeast and Northern Wisconsin.
- Old School Guide Service in Phillips promises a good day on Price County area lakes and rivers.
Learning to sail can be the start of a lifelong passion, and Wisconsin’s sailing schools make it accessible and fun.
- Geneva Lake Sailing School is a non-profit that offers youth and adult sailing classes.
- Learn the basics, or polish up your sailing skills at the Milwaukee Community Sailing Center based in McKinley Marina on Lake Michigan.
- Superior Charters & Sailing School in the Apostle Islands offers personalized sailing courses, along with the largest selection of sailboats and powerboats for charter of any harbor in the USA.
Kayak calm lakes or leave them behind for more complex currents.
- Ephraim Kayak Center offers rentals and lessons by the hour in Door County’s Eagle Harbor and surrounding waters.
- Explore sea caves and waterfalls with guides from Whitecap Kayak on Lake Superior. Learn sea or whitewater kayaking in groups or private lessons.
- Bear Paw Outdoor Adventure Resort in White Lake offers private kayak and canoe lessons along with whitewater kayaking on the Wolf River.
Northeastern Wisconsin is a prime spot for the thrills of whitewater rafting. Local guides will help you to have a safe and fun outing.
- Thornton's Whitewater Rafting Resort & Cabins in Athelstane runs guided trips on the Peshtigo and Menominee rivers – two of the Midwest’s best whitewater destinations.
- With HQ in Silver Cliff on the Peshtigo River, and a Menominee River outpost in Niagara, Kosir’s Rapid Rafts offers guided trips for beginners through to the most fearless rafters.
- For a “mild or wild” rafting experience on the Wolf River, check out Shotgun Eddy Rafts in White Lake.
Top Boating Tips:
- Before heading out to catch the big one, purchase your fishing license.
- If you were born after 1989, you’ll need a Wisconsin Boating Safety Certificate to operate a motorboat or personal watercraft.
- A license isn’t required for paddle sports, but there’s a free safety course online if you’d like to get a head start.
- Don’t forget a life jacket.
- You can find boat landings and maps, along with other helpful tips from the Wisconsin DNR.
- Finally, be sure to check weather conditions before you head out!
Read more about Wisconsin’s wonderful watersports.